Sadhguru speaks at a talk organized by the Dharma Civilization Foundation, on the “Spirit of Eastern Wisdom: The Intelligence Within”. He looks at how “Eastern wisdom does not come from the limited amount of data gathered from books or scriptures but by enhancing one’s perception.”
The talk was organized in support of “The Swami Vivekananda Endowed Chair in “Modern India & Indian Diaspora Studies” being established at the University of California, Irvine (UCI), to conduct accurate & authentic study of contemporary, emergent India, its opportunities & challenges.
Sadhguru: In appreciation of this commendable cause that the Dharma Foundation has taken up, I would like to say that for thousands of years, for the longest period compared to anything on this planet, this wisdom, this dimension of knowing has lived on, without any kind of true organization or a certain kind of leadership or any other kind of organized support. Out of sheer efficacy of what it is, it’s just lived on. A time has come in the world when… where even truth has to be protected (Laughter).
When we talk about East, we are not talking about a particular geography. This must be clearly understood – we are not talking about East and West as geographical features in the world. Any number of great minds in America have said things of great reverence and admiration for the so-called Eastern wisdom. Thoreau (Referring to American philosopher Henry David Thoreau), one of the greatest minds America produced, went out to say, “Every morning, I bathe my intellect in this stupendous and cosmogono (cosmogony?) knowledge from the East. In comparison, all our modern world and literature is puny and trivial.” I think Mark Twain went out to… probably gave out the best compliment to the East. When he visited India for a little over three months, he said, “Anything that can ever be done either by man or god has been done in this land.” Any number of others – Oppenheimer (Referring to American physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer), Walden (Referring to a book by Henry David Thoreau), Emerson – any number of people have said many, many things. Why? Why is it simpot… important? Why is it important to preserve and nurture this dimension of life?
The fundamental reason why it seems to be so significantly different is because it is not a product of human intellect. It is not deductions that we made out of our intellect. This dimension comes from a profound inner experience, where there is no right and wrong, there is no up and down, just seeing things the way they are. And when we say dharma, we are not talking about a religion, as modern translators went about interpreting dharma as Hindu dharma or whatever, another religion, because they came from a mindset that everybody has to belo… belong to some segment of humanity. They come from a mindset where humanity has to be divided one way or the other because they come from the surface intelligence of human nature which we call as intellect. Unfortunately, the modern societies, modern education systems have entirely dedicated themselves to the human intellect, completely ignoring other dimensions of intelligence which definitely exist within us. When you go by the intellect, the nature of the intellect is always to dissect and divide because intellect is essentially discriminatory in nature. An intellect functions always with a certain identity. If you have no identity, you cannot use your intellect. So with individual identities, either of race, religion, nationality, caste, creed, gender, when you apply your intellect, it’ll split the world into many pieces. So the significance of what we are referring to as the spirit of Eastern wisdom is it does not come from human intellect, it comes from a deeper dimension of intelligence within us.
When I say a deeper dimension of intelligence, a simplistic way of looking at it would be – whatever you had for lunch today, if you had a piece of bread, over the afternoon, this bed… bread is being transformed into a human being. You definitely cannot do that with your intellect. There’s an intelligence here (Referring to oneself), which is capable of making a banana into a human being (Few laugh). You definitely cannot do that with your intellect. A dimension of intelligence which is beyond thought process… Thought, or the product of intellect, is essentially always functioning from a limited amount of data that we have gathered. Now, what we call as Eastern wisdom is not coming from a limited amount of data that we have gathered, either from the books or our life experience, but simply by enhancing our ability to perceive life in ways that the five sense organs cannot function.
Why I’m talking about the five sense organs is, all the data that you have ever gathered which rests in so many aspects within you, which is the food for the intellect, comes from the five sense organs. In the very nature of things, sense organs cannot perceive the entirety of anything. If you can see this part of my hand (Gestures), you cannot see this part of my hand (Gestures). This is the nature of sense perception. Even if you take a grain of sand, if you see one part of it, you cannot see the other face of it. Sense organs can only perceive in comparison. If there is no comparison, your senses are useless. Because there is darkness, you know what is light, otherwise you just would not know what is light. If light was on all the time and there was no darkness, you would not know what is light. Because there is silence, you know what is sound. If there was no silence, you would not have the idea of what is sound. So always in comparison… It is like… You’re getting very serious (Laughter).
Let’s say you’re six feet tall. Now, you walk like a tall man, you think like a tall man, you feel like a tall man, you are a tall man (Laughter). You went to another society where everybody is eight feet tall (Laughter). Suddenly you walk like a short man, think like a short man, feel like a short man and you are a short man (Laughter). So what you perceive in comparison is a distortion of reality. It is not reality as it is. So whatever we perceive in comparison is useful for our survival process but if we want to know… know the nature of this existence, sense organs are not sufficient instruments. What is light for you is darkness for many other creatures. You ever got into an argument with an owl (Laughter)? If you did, which is light, which is darkness, where would it go (Laughter)? It would be endless argument. Who is right, you or the owl? Who is right (Laughter)? Hmm?
Sadhguru: Oh! If you’re saying both (Laughter), either you belong to the diplomatic corps (Laughter) or you have a successful marriage (Laughter/Applause). You have learned to say, “Both, both, both” for everything (Laughter).
Participants: ____ (Unclear)
Sadhguru: You’re right. Well, that is the basis of all the problems on the planet – “I’m right and you are wrong” (Laughter). The fact of the matter is, you are perceiving it as it is necessary for your survival, the owl is perceiving it as it is necessary for his survival. If survival is all you’re seeking, your five sense organs and intellect are sufficient instruments. But if you want to know the nature of the existence, if you want to know the fundamental laws or dharma which governs life, the way it happens within us and around us, then you need an inner perception or another dimension of intelligence within you. Otherwise, you will only cut the world into pieces. In the name of religions, we have cut the world into… humanity into many pieces because intellectually we have arrived at our own conclusions or deductions, which invariably is bound to divide because intellect is essentially a knife which cuts. It can only dissect. By dissection, you can know certain things. But if you really want to know someone that you love, you don’t dissect them, you embrace them (Laughs). By dissection, you may know the kidney, liver, heart, stuff but you will not know that being in any sense. You will lose it completely.
So dissection is the way of the intellect because it is a sharp instrument. It has to cut it… cut open everything that’s given to it. But the East found another way. Out of profoundness of experience, you can know life. By turning inward, you can know life. When I say turning inward, you must understand that essentially, the five sense organs are always outward. You can see what’s around you but you cannot roll your eyeballs inward and scan yourself. You can hear this (Snaps his fingers) but so much activity in this body, you cannot hear this. If an ant crawls upon this hand, you can feel it. So much blood flowing, you cannot feel it because in the very nature of things sense organs are outward bound. The moment you dedicate yourself to your intellect, you also get enslaved to the limitations of your five senses. It is in this context, the wisdom of the East is of tremendous significance to the world because it has transcended this slavery to sense perception and learned to perceive life in a completely different way.
What is this completely different way? In English language, if you say mind, it is just one word. It is supposed to say everything. In the yogic culture, there are sixteen parts to the mind, sixteen dimensions of human mind. Now, if I go into sixteen, it would take too much time, so let me compress it into four (Laughs). The four aspects of the mind are called buddhi, ahankara, manas and chitta. Buddhi means the intellect. Today, modern world is largely run by the intellect. So, with this, we can do many things on the outside. We can go on enhancing the comforts and conveniences of life. We’ve done very well in terms of comforts and conveniences. Never before, never ever before, another generation of humanity ever knew the kind of comforts and conveniences that we have today. But at the same time, we are whining like never before (Laughter) because as the comforts and convenience increase on the outside, as there is less to complain about what is happening around you, the emptiness of within echoes within you in a horrible way. When you’re fighting for survival, when every day you are struggling to fix small things on the outside, you will not realize this. When outside is well settled, that is when you will see how hollow life has become. The biggest question in the world – you will see in the next few decades – is what the hell are we doing here anyway? Because everything that needs to be fixed on the outside is done, now what?
7.2 billion people on the planet but right now, gradually, it’s looming large – loneliness is one of the biggest problems. Dogs are being tortured to fulfill human loneliness (Laughter). Because as you dedicate yourself more and more to your intellect, you will naturally become more and more lonely because it keeps on dissecting and cutting life into various pieces for examination and then you will see you yourself will be split up into many parts after some time, if you go by the intellect hundred percent.
The next dimension of the mind is referred to as ahankara. Normally, people think it means ego. No, it means identity. You’re identified with something. The moment you’re identified with something, your intellect will work only to protect that identity, no matter what, whichever way you think. Your ideas of which nation you belong to, which race you belong to, which culture you belong to, which religion you belong to, which gender you belong to, the moment you get identified, your intellect will work only to protect that identity. So, it is a certain kind of prejudice. Well, you may say, “I’m not prejudiced. I’m very broad-minded.” All right, it’s a broad prejudice (Laughter) because people are willing to live and die for what they’re identified with because the nature of the intellect is if you take away the identity, it will not know what to do. It needs a strong identity, a strong sense of who I am. If you ask, “Who am I?” your intellect will not function. You must know who you are (Laughs) – a strong sense of belief that this is what I am. That is when your intellect will function in a certain way.
This is like… Intellect is like a sharp knife. Ahankara, or the identity, is the hand that holds it. All the suffering on the planet… When was the last time when somebody stabbed you, even though you’re living in LA (Referring to Los Angeles), I’m asking (Laughter)? When was the last time it happened? Never happened. Maybe when you were in school, somebody poked you with a pin, at the most or they… even that did not happen, they ignored you (Laughter). Or what I’m saying is how much suffering for a human being is actually coming from outside? Almost nothing. Rest is all self-help (Laughter) because this (Referring to the intellect) is a sharp knife given to you. Unsteady hand, every day it’s cutting itself. You know, we were (Laughs)… We were trekking in Nepal and Tibet region and I was in a tent. Someone was cutting an apple and someone else, another person says, “This is a very sharp knife, be careful.” It irritates me because such an obvious thing. You call it a knife only because it’s sharp (Laughter). If that damn thing is not sharp, why will I call it a knife (Laughter)? And if it’s a child, yes. A full grown man, you don’t tell him it’s a sharp knife (Laughs). I ignored it and I was working on something. Another two minutes, again it is said, “It’s a very sharp knife, be careful.” I said, “Come on, leave him alone (Laughs). He’s a grown man, leave him alone. This is… He is not handling some super instrument. A knife! He should know how to handle a knife.” “No, no, Sadhguru, it’s a very sharp knife” (Laughter). All right, I get back to my work. Two minutes later, he cuts his hand (Laughter), okay?
Now, the problem is just this, you’ve been given a sharp knife. Unsteady hand, every day cutting yourself. You may call it stress, you may call it anxiety, you may call it fear, you may call it misery, you call it what you want. All that’s happening is your intellect is working against you, that’s all it is. Unless somebody is stabbing you from outside, that’s a different issue, we need to deal with that differently. Rest is all your own intelligence turning against you. You may call it thousand different… “No, no, my mother-in-law, my boss, my neigh… my neighbor.” They are… They are not stabbing you, they’re only saying what they want to say. It is you who is poking yourself because an unsteady hand, that’s all. But this intellect cannot function without a memory bank. So what is called as manas is a silo of memory.
There are eight dimensions of memory. Let’s not go into the detail but you know this much – there is a conscious memory. Today, they’re recognizing a subconscious memory. You know there is genetic memory. You may not remember how your great-great-great-grandfather looked like but his nose is sitting on your face (Laughter). A million years ago how your forefathers were, even today your body remembers. You may not remember here (Gestures) but your body remembers every aspect of it. Even the color of the skin it is remembering, not forgotten. So there is genetic memory. There is evolutionary memory. Like this, there’s a profound dimension of memory in the body. There are trillion times more memory in your body than in your mind. So this is why this (Gestures) is called as manomayakosha. This is an entire manas, not in one place. Intellect may be up here (Gestures) but the manas spreads right through the system. Every cell in the body has a memory of its own, has an intelligence of its own.
Now the fourth dimension of intelligence is called chitta. This is a dimension of intelligence which is unsullied by memory. If you touch this dimension, then the memory has no influence on you. Your genetic memory, your evolutionary memory, your conscious memories, unconscious memory, subconscious memory, whatever kinds of memories you have, it has no influence on you. Or in other words, past cannot recycle itself through you. See, right now, you take on this form because of a certain memory. It’s a certain software. Tch, if you eat… Let’s say you’re a man and you eat a piece of bread, this piece of bread turns into a man. You are woman and you eat a piece of bread, the same piece of bread turns into a woman. You give it to your dog, it turns into a dog. Very intelligent bread (Laughter)! It is just the memory that you carry. Here (Gestures), there is a memory which transforms everything the way it is.
So, this dimension of intelligence which is called as chitta, which is untouched by any kind of memory, just pure intelligence, is of significance because it’s beyond. It is beyond your species, it is beyond your form, it’s beyond your gender, it’s beyond your culture, it’s beyond every kind of influence which is essentially memory within you. May be unconscious, but it is memory playing out in so many ways. As long as memory is playing out, what it means is, you’re… In India, we say you are in a state of samsara. Samsara means, lot of people today understand as family (Laughs). Samsara doesn’t mean family. Samsara means a cyclical life. You are in cycles of life. If you’re in cycles or if you’re going in circles, what does it mean? That means you’re not getting anywhere. That’s what it means. A cycle is nice. It gives you good exercise. This is like running on a treadmill. If you’re seeking exercise, it’s good. But if you want to go somewhere, it’s no good. If you put your treadmill out here and keep running on it, morning becomes evening, fall becomes winter, winter becomes summer, everything will happen. Seasons will change, scenery will change, everything will happen. Only thing is you don’t go anywhere. This is what samsara means. As long as you’re functioning within the first three dimensions of intelligence, you’re in a cyclical mode. It is all right to exercise yourself but it’s not good to go somewhere. So if you want to transcend the samsara nature of who you are or the cyclical nature of your existence, then you touch the dimension of intelligence which is referred to as chitta.
Why the so-called Eastern wisdom is of great significance? Why the dharma of the East is so significant and important is because this comes from chitta. This does not come from buddhi, this does not come from manas, this does not come from ahankara. This comes from chitta and only that which does not come from your individual identity or individual memory, that can be truly universal. So for this, we said, “This is sanathan dharm.” This does not mean Hindu religion. This is a very wrong conception. Sanathan dharm means the ultimate law of nature. When we say nature, there is physical nature and there is an inner nature. There are two dimensions. For this, accordingly we made two dimensions of laws. Physical nature is a changing thing, it’s always in a process of change and a flux. But the inner nature is a constant process. So we made two dimensions of expression for this dharma called shruthis and smrithis. One is always to be updated for every generation, otherwise two generations will keep on bickering and clashing (Laughs). You have to update it. Another is eternal, it’s always there. It’s nobody’s business to change it because it cannot be changed because the fundamentals of life has not changed. Based on this, an entire wisdom arose as to how to exist within you and how to operate around you.
This happened in 1924. There was a Bishop in the Orthodox Greek religion, where… You know, there is Orthodox Greek segment of Christians. They have a Pope of their own in Istanbul. They believe they are the only true Christians. Others are all riffraff according to them. So he served this particular segment, which is very orthodox and rigid. Being in Istanbul, being on the Silk Route, all kinds of stories of Indian mysticism kept wafting across the Bosporus. So, he has a longing to go to India and see a real yogi or a mystic. But being a man of cloth, he could not choose where to go and where not to go. After he passed sixty years of age, when he semi-retired, he got an opportunity and went to India and came to southern India. So his desire is to meet a real yogi, not a book yogi, not a studio yogi but a real one (Laughter). So somebody directed him and said, “Go up this hill. There in this kind of place, there will be one yogi.” So he went up. Well, he’s not made for the mountains. He went huffing and puffing up and then he found in front of a small cave, a yogi was sitting, eyes closed, totally blissed out. He went there and he has been told that if you see a yo… Indian yogi, you must prostrate. Well, he was not made for that (Laughter) but he somehow managed, huffed and puffed and sat down. Hearing this com… commotion, the yogi opened his eyes and smiled.
Immediately, the bishop looked at him and said, “Can I ask you a question?” The yogi said, “By all means.” The bishop asked, “What is life?” This is after sixty (Laughter). You should have asked this question when you were eight (Laughter), at least when you’re sixteen (Laughs) – sixty! But what to do? Better late than never (Laughs). He asked. Then the yogi laughed and went into raptures, “Oh life! Life is like the fragrance of jasmine upon gentle spring breeze” (Laughter). The bishop looked at him and said, “What! Life is like fragrance of jasmine upon gentle spring breeze? Our teacher told us, ‘Life is like a thorn (Laughter). Once it gets into you (Laughter), if it hur… if you sit, it hurts, if you stand, it hurts, if you lie down, it hurts’ (Laughter). What is this fragrance of jasmine upon gentle spring reeze… spring breeze?” So the yogi smiled and said, “Well, that’s his life” (Laughter).
So this comes from the fundamental that, when a human being clearly, experientially understands that entire experience of human life is created from within, never from outside. Right now, as you sit here, do you at least see me? Even if you’re not listening to me, I’m saying (Laughter). Can you use your hand and show where I am? Ah, no, no, you’re getting it all wrong. You know I’m a mystic from South India (Laughter)? Now this light is falling upon me, reflecting, going through your lenses, inverted image in the retina, you know the whole story?
Sadhguru: Where do you see me right now? Within yourself. Where do you hear me right now? Within yourself. Where have you seen the entire world? Within yourself. Have you ever experienced anything outside of yourself? Right now, someone next to you, if they touch you, you think you’re experiencing their hand. No. You’re only experiencing the sensations in your hand. In the very nature of things, you cannot experience anything outside of yourself. When everything, when the entire experience of life is caused from within you, at least it must happen the way you want it, isn’t it? Hmm? The world will not happen the way you want it, at least (Laughs) the experience of living here, within you, must happen the way you want it. If… If… If your experience of life happened just the way you want it, how would you keep yourself? Blissful or miserable?
Few Participants: Blissful.
Sadhguru: Please, you must tell me, I’m going to bless you (Laughter). Blissful or miserable?
Sadhguru: For yourself – definitely, highest level of pleasantness for yourself. What you want for your neighbor may be debatable (Laughter) but you know what you want for yourself, isn’t it? Now, blissfulness or pleasantness of life is not a goal by itself. It is only when you’re blissful by your own nature, that means you determine the nature of your experience. No matter what is the situation, you determine the nature of your experience. Or in other words, you have no fear of suffering. Only and only when there is no fear of suffering, will you walk full stride in this life, otherwise it’s always about ‘What will happen to me, what will happen to me?’ Every step is a half a step.
Now, this so-called spirit of Eastern wisdom comes from those beings who walked full stride, who determined the nature of their experience. The outside never decided who they are. So, they could walk full stride and explore the depths and dimensions of life that others never dared to touch because most of the humanity is only concerned about ‘What will happen to me?’ ‘What will happen to me’ means what? ‘Will I suffer?’ – that’s the question. The first and foremost thing, if you truly want to explore dimensions which we are referring to as another dimension of wisdom or knowing, is that first you must determine the nature of your experience. You have no fear of suffering. Only then, truly exploring human consciousness becomes a reality. Touching dimensions of intelligence which gives access to the entire universe becomes a possibility.
I’m supposed to open up for questions (Laughter). It’s time you ask your questions please. Please, the microphone.
Questioner: Hello Sadhguru. So, I love your teachings. I make sure that…
Sadhguru: Oh! Not me (Laughter)?
Questioner: No, I love you (Laughter). And although I have not been initiated to this organization, I’ve done Inner Engineering in Atlanta, Surya Kriya because my sister is a teacher… that is a teacher in your organization and I do really believe in your teachings, there’s something though I have a problem.
Sadhguru: When you believe something, you will have a problem (Laughter).
Questioner: (Sounds like – True. True?) So everything that you say frrm the psychological point of view and the wisdom that you (Sounds like – harvest/harness?) ____ (Unclear) you know, of course ____ (Unclear) makes a lot of sense that it’s my perception, my comparisons, it’s me having that knife and you know, cutting myself because of ____ (Unclear). But there are things that happen in the world and in society that has nothing to do with the intellect. If I live in a temple and I am dis… I am separated from the world and I’m a monk, or… or… you know…
Sadhguru: No, come to the question (Laughter).
Questioner: So I need to take this… Oh, all right. So my job, the population I work with that are in the verge of homelessness or they are addicts or they are …
Sadhguru: Come to the question (Laughter).
Questioner: That’s the question. If I tell them that “It is your intellect, and it’s your perception, and this doesn’t exist, they will laugh at me because it definitely exists.
Sadhguru: They must because it’s the dumbest thing to say (Laughter).
Questioner: Right. So I wanted to know this spirituality that you teach, the spirituality that many gurus teach, how is it usable for someone that doesn’t have food to eat and is going to become homeless and there is so many problems, especially in America. I mean how… Of course I teach them resiliency, it’s a different fact. But every time I’m going to open my mouth and use some of your teachings, I have to step back (Laughter). Because ____ (Unclear) in their lives. If I tell them…
Sadhguru: I got it, I got it (Laughter/Applause)! Don’t try to answer the question. You must only ask the question (Laughs).
Questioner: Thank you.
Sadhguru: I got the question.
Questioner: Before anybody (Sounds like – kill me?), I’m sorry.
Sadhguru: Okay (Laughter). Now the first problem is that you believe in the teachings because this is the problem with the entire world – they have been cultured in some belief or the other. This is what is significant about what is referred to as sanathana dharma or what is referred to as the Indian way of looking at things is, this is not a land of belief systems, this is a land of seekers. Never ever were anybody encouraged to believe anything. If you see anything that comes from that land, you will see, it is all about questions – never about a belief system. If you enter a (an?) Indian home, in the same house, five different people are worshiping twenty-five different gods and goddesses (Laughter). They’re still not made up their minds which is (Laughter… and they have no problem, they’ll never fight about it (Laughter) because it’s a land of seeking.
So first mistake you make is you believe what I say. I am constantly reminding you, “Don’t believe a goddamn thing that anybody says but don’t be foolish enough to disbelieve it either. All you have to do is experiment with it – does it work or doesn’t work? If it works, you keep it, otherwise rubbish it, what’s the problem? Now, about somebody being hungry, somebody being homeless, somebody being in a war zones – all kinds of horrible things are happening on the planet. I am not ignorant of it. Anyway, you said living in a temple… I am not living in a temple. I am more of the world than you are. Every day (Laughs)… I want you to understand, I’m running a volunteer organization with over 4,000 full-time volunteers and over three million part-time volunteers doing variety of work. Huge projects, over a dozen businesses and the spiritual movement, okay (Few participants almost start clapping)? Now, I want you to understand, more things are going wrong with my life on a daily basis than anybody’s life (Laughter/Applause).
Now when a man is hungry if you try to tell him, “Your intellect is the source of your problem” (Laughter) – it’s obscene! It’s obscene, it’s nothing short of that. I never spoke to hungry people and said, “Your intellect is the source of the problem.” I’m talking to people who’re bulging (Laughter) in so many ways. In their head and in their body, they’re bulging (Laughter). I’m only talking to that segment of the population. Those who are not fe… fed well, I’m doing social projects with them, with nourishment, education, health, all for free. Will I ever go and talk to a starved man in an Indian village and tell him, “Your intellect is the basis of all your problems” (Laughter). What makes you think that I’m that stupid (Laughter)? I… Do I look like that (Laughs)? So you also don’t do that (Laughter). This is for you.
You need to understand this. There are million problems on the planet. All these million problems are essentially because those who are reasonably well have never cared to reach out and do what needs to be done in the world. In many ways, they’re making sure those people don’t get it. Yes. In the year 2012, we have produced enough food for 18.2 billion people. We had only 6.6 billion people in that year but still, fifty percent of the population is malnourished and hardly eaten anything. This is not because there is no food. Because… This is because you and me have not cared, isn’t it? So, is it true? Is it true nobody stabbed you in the last twenty-five years? Yes. But is it also true you’re suffering various things of tension, stress, anxiety, this, that? Is it a product of your mind or somebody else poking you from outside? It is your reaction to the existential situation outside. Instead of doing what is needed, what you see is when you see something wrong happening or when you see some suffering or something comes your way, you decide to poke yourself. This is about incapacitating yourself. Instead of seeing when there is a problem, you need empowerment, not incapacitating yourself, isn’t it? I’m talking about empowering you so that your damn intelligence functions for you, not against you. The moment your intelligence is working against you, no god in the universe is going to help you and can help you. Yes. If your intelligence has turned against you, you are a finished case.
So I’m saying, first let your intelligence work for you. If it works for you, there are many miraculous things that you can do for all those people who have still not eaten properly, for whom basic things have not been taken care of. That’s our business because somehow we’ve landed in a place where you and me are at least eating well. Once we are in such a privilege, we must use our intelligence to see what is the best thing we can do in the world, not sit here and twist yourself out. I’m saying don’t twist yourself out. If you’re joyful, naturally you will do the best things you can do. If I meet you when you’re very happy, will you be nice to me?
Participant: I’ll always be nice to you.
Sadhguru: No, no, no (Laughter). I don’t believe that. When you’re very happy, if I meet you, I’m sure you’re a wonderful person. But when you’re depressed, when you’re unhappy, when you’re frustrated, if I meet you, you could be a nasty person?
Sadhguru: This is true with every human being, isn’t it? So the first and foremost work that any human being has to done… do is that you make this (Referring to oneself) into a pleasant piece of life so that you naturally exude this pleasant in ev… pleasantness in every possible way. If this (Referring to oneself) is feeling unpleasant and you tell this one to be pleasant, is it going to work? We are trying to fix the stomach full people right now (Laughter).
Questioner: May I ask you a question?
(General conversation in crowd – not transcribed)
Questioner: It was a pleasure listening to you, unbelievable. But my question is what can I do so that I can acquire your skill of clarity, honesty (Laughter)? And honestly, generally speaking, very few people, you know, are like you are. I’m sure you have heard this before (Laughter). So what makes you… What makes you so secure from within and be so candid, honest, truthful, clarity of expression (Laughter/Applause)?
Sadhguru: I didn’t know that’s a popular question (Laughs). When we say clarity, that means… Tch (Few laugh)… I want to tell you a joke but it’s… it’s a dirty joke so I thought I’ll skip that one (Laughter).
Participant: Go for it!
Participants: Please tell.
Sadhguru: No, no, I’ll s… I’ll come with something milder, you know (Laughter)? The problem with the human being right now, is this – we have created a world… we have create education syst… created education systems where we believe that human beings are essentially all wrong or the creation is all wrong or the source of creation or the creator is all wrong and you’re going to fix it (Laughter). This is a convoluted idea. Instead of paying attention to life, we are coming up with philosophies and philosophies and philosophies. Philosophies are fantastic explanations to that which cannot be explained. If you want to know life, you must pay attention to life, isn’t it? Right now, do you agree with me, Madam, that this human mechanism is the most sophisticated machine on the planet?
Sadhguru: Do you agree with me? Are you a doctor?
Sadhguru: Yes (Laughs). So, this (Referring to oneself) is such a complex machine. This (Referring to oneself) is the super, super computer, all right? I’m asking have you bothered to read the user’s manual (Laughter)? If you understand how this (Referring to oneself) functions, you would know how to use it. Even if you take a simple gadget like a phone, the more you know about it, the better you can use it. Isn’t it so? You have definitely… Coming from India, you have definitely been bombarded with this thing about realization… self-realization.
Sadhguru: Let me put it in very simple terms. What self-realization means is… First of all, what the word realization means – realization is not an achievement, it is not an accomplishment, it is just realization. That means something that’s always here, you just managed to see it now. That means you were stupid all your life (Laughter), just now you saw it (Laughter). You did not invent something new, you did not ramp yourself up to a mountain. No, you just saw the most obvious thing which was always here – you realized. So, realization means you realized how foolish you have been. Everything has been right here and you didn’t get it.
So there are many ways. Of course, most of you being from the Indian origin, I’m… I’ve… I’ve n… I have not read this… I have to admit, I have never read the Gita (Laughs) because it never occurred to me. I’m sorry (Laughter), I know this is a shock (Laughs). But you know, be… living in India, bits and pieces of this are always floating around in the air and it’s… you know many pieces of it but I’ve never really studied it in any sense. So when… On a certain moment, when Arjuna asked, “What is the nature of this truth that you’re talking about? Where is it?” So Krishna laughed and said, “The highest truth about your life is at the tip of your nose.” Now there are many schools of yoga intensely focusing on the tips of their noses (Laughter/Applause). Please try it for two minutes, you will get a headache (Laughter). You will not get enlightened (Laughter). What he is saying is, it is the most obvious thing. It is the most obvious thing but right now, the problem is all the instruments of perception that you have are outward bound but the seat of your experience is within you. The fundamental seat of your experience is within you but all the instruments of perception are outward bound. So how should I do this?
You must understand anything beyond survival, if it has to enter your life, some striving is needed. Let’s say, as a little infant, you were left in the jungle without human contact. If something edible came in front of you, would you first try your ears, then nostrils, and somehow by accident find your mouth? Is that so? You would just know where to put it, isn’t it? So what I’m saying is everything that is necessary for survival is built into you. It… You’re born with it. The five senses takes care of it. But if you want to know something more, you have to strive. For example, do you remember, when you were three, four or five years of age, you had to learn to write the alphabet. That damn ‘A’ how complicated it was and they… on top it, there were two versions (Laughter). You had to write it a hundred times to get it, isn’t it? But today, with your eyes closed, you can write. If that striving was not there, today could you write? Today would you know language?
So, anything beyond survival needs striving. Without the needed striving, it won’t happen. There are ways to perceive the interiority of who you are but unfortunately, there’s been no striving. Right now, we made this technology into such a simple, almost like a physical science. ‘A’ plus ‘B’ equals this or two parts of hydrogen, one part of oxygen, water will come. If a great scientist puts it together, only water will come. An idiot puts it together, only water will come. So we made the entire yoga sutras like this, that if you do this, this, and this, this will happen to you. That simple and all I’m asking (Laughs) generally from people is about thirty, thirt… thirty to thirty-two hours of focused time to develop an instrument where they can turn inward. “Ooof… Thirty hours is too much” (Few laugh). I’m saying if you cannot dedicate a little bit of time to know what this (Referring to oneself) is, that means your existence must be truly wor… worthless. If this (Referring to oneself) is worthwhile, you must pay attention to this (Referring to oneself), isn’t it? If you want to know life, this (Referring to oneself) is life, isn’t it? When I say the word life, maybe you’re thinking about your profession, your family, your car, your home. No, these are all accessories. This (Referring to oneself) is life. Isn’t it so? Hello?
Participants: Yes (Laughter).
Sadhguru: But no attention has been paid. Your idea of fixing life is fixing all kinds of things. This happened one day. Shankaran Pillai was going home (Laughter). No, I’m not done (Laughter/Applause). Shankaran Pillai was going home. It is 7:30 in the evening. The rules at home – the wife’s rules – are 8:00 he must be home. It’s only 7:30. He thought, “There is still time. Let me have a quick drink and go.” He just stepped into the local bar. He had a quick drink and a quick drink and a quick drink and a quick drink and a quick drink (Laughter). Then he looked at the time (Gestures) (Laughter). It said 2:00 AM. Tch, you know, drinking people are like yogis, they become timeless (Laughter/Applause). There’s a certain correlation (Laughter). Then it’s late and he got off the bar stool and tried to walk. It’s such an unfair world. A man is supposed to walk on a round planet. As if that’s not enough, it spins (Laughter)! You notice that the planet is round and it’s spinning only when you’ve had a few drops more or a few drops are missing between two… your two ears (Laughs). Either you’re drunk or you have a vertigo, then you notice the planet is round and spinning. Otherwise you think it’s flat and you’re going on fine (Laughs).
So with great difficulty, he was walking sideways and trying to find his way home. He was crossing a garden and he flipped over and fell face down into a rose bush. His face became a mess. Then he somehow reached home and you know, these keyholes are so minute. It took twenty minutes to find the keyhole. Then he found his way up to the bedroom and then he went into the bathroom and he looked at his face. It was a real mess. Then he opened the medicine cabinet, took out medicine, plaster, Band Aid, fixed himself up and slowly crawled into the bed. Fortunately, the wife is a big sleeper (Laughter). He slept. Morning eight o’clock, the wife (Laughter) took a bucketful of cold water and splashed it on him. “Aahh (Gasps)…” – water boarded, he woke up. He said, “Why, why, it’s only a Sunday?” She said, “You fool, again drinking.” She’s… He said, “Honey, six months ago, I promised you. Since then, I haven’t touched a drop.” She grabbed him by the shirt and took him into the bathroom and showed him – all the plaster was on the mirror (Laughter).
Why… Why people have lost their clarity (Laughter)… Why people have lost their clarity is only because of this – that if there is any suffering here (Referring to oneself), they think this one (Gestures towards someone else) should be fixed (Laughter). If something else happens, that one should be fixed. If something else happens, that one should be fixed (Laughter). Every day morning prayer means what? Trying to fix the god (Laughter). Yes. You’re trying to fix up the god, isn’t it? So day in and day out, for everything that happens within you, instead of fixing this one (Referring to oneself), you’re trying to fix everything around you. No wonder you will be confused… We’ve fixed the planet sufficiently, at least in this part of the world. If you fix it any more, there’ll be no planet left. But are people bursting with ecstasy? No. So because… Clarity has been lost simply because of this. If you understand, if life has to really become beautiful for you, this one (Referring to oneself) has to be fixed. If you understand this one thing, clarity will dawn within you (Applause).
Questioner: Hello? Sat sri akaal (Punjabi greeting roughly translated as ‘God is the ultimate truth).
Sadhguru: Hey, you’re copying a question from somewhere. What is that?
Questioner: No, I actually have a question on chitta. How can we tap into chitta, which is what you said, memory with no (Sounds like – effect?) and the ability to break the cycles?
Sadhguru: Right here, you want to do that (Laughter)? You can… You can take one fundamental step today, that is I want you to… anyway you’re… you’ve already written down the question also. You have the habit of writing things. So you just sit down today before you go to bed, write down what are all the different types of identities that you have taken – starting from your body, everything else. Just write it down and see if you can create a little distance from these identifications. Just work on that. That’s the first step, that you are not identified with anything. You’re just here, throbbing as a piece of life, not as this or that. See… “But what can I do, I am a young woman?” Right now, yes, when you sit here among people. If you’re just walking by yourself in the garden, you don’t really think you’re a young woman. Or if you are that identified, you can’t help it even there, if you just doze off a little bit, you don’t sleep as a young woman, you just sleep simply as life, isn’t it? I’m saying something so fundamental as your body and gender, even that identity is only on the surface. Your caste, creed, religion, race – this is even more on the surface. So I’m saying, you can’t do it in the day right now but before you go to bed, see if you can keep all your identities by the bedside table and sleep. Hmm? To work in the world, you need an identity. Without identity, you cannot function in the world. So before going to sleep, take off all the identities, keep it on your bedside table – morning it’ll be there, it’ll not go anywhere – leave it there and go to sleep. You have started the journey.
(General conversation in crowd – not transcribed)
Questioner: I… I’ll be very to the point over here.
Participant: You want to stand up?
Sadhguru: If you can… She has no micro…
Questioner: Yes… Yesterday around this time, I was talking to my friend and said I would like to attend all different kind of meditations. I go home, within ten minutes, I see your email pop up. I do not know who’s forwarded it to me and I thought it was meant to be. And I wanted to be over here and I said in the little world, which is inside, this is what I envisioned. And I had no guilt or no remorse of not playing my roles that I’m supposed to do as a wife, as a mother and I said I want to be here. But I have…
Sadhguru: In one evening, what’s the problem being a wife and a mother (Laughs)?
Questioner: No, I’m saying doing all the things, the daily things. So, at what point did your intellect separate from your inner self where you had no feelings of guilt, guilt of turning back from somebody who needed your help because… because a greater good had to be done. When… When was that moment of your enlightenment? Could you please share that? Thank you (Sadhguru laughs).
Participant: Please repeat the question (Laughter).
Questioner: ____ (Unclear) everybody ____ (Unclear) (Overlapping question)…
Sadhguru: They want you… You must use the microphone. They want to hear the question. Make it….
Questioner: I would like to hear Guruji’s turning point in life, where he separated himself from his intellect and his inner self.
Sadhguru: Do I look like someone who lost my intellect (Laughter/Applause)? I didn’t think that I was coming out so dumb (Laughter). This is… She’s asking for a story. Do you want a story?
Participants: Yes (Laughter/Applause).
Sadhguru: Okay (Laughs). I’m just thinking where to begin. I am trying to abridge the story (Laughs). It’s just that at a certain moment, some things might have happened but one must understand it’s a process that you set forth. Tch, this started happening to me when I was just around four, four-and-a-half years of age. I suddenly realized one day that I don’t know anything. I don’t know anything means I don’t know anything at all. To such an extent, if somebody gives me a glass of water, I would not know what is water. I know if I drink this water, it’ll quench my thirst and different ways of using it, I know what to do with it but I don’t know what it is. Well, actually if you look at it, even today you don’t know what it is. It’s the only substance present in the planet in all three different states. Three fourths of the planet is water. Nearly three fourths of your body is water. If you’re looking for life, you look for a drop of water. There’s lot of excitement, they found a few drops on the Mars (Few laugh). I think people from California need to migrate (Laughter/Applause).
So, I’m just staring at this glass of water for hours on end. If I found a dry leaf, I’m just looking at the leaf for five, six hours at a stretch. If I sit up in my bed staring at the darkness, the entire night I’m sitting like this, staring. My dear father, being a physician, started thinking I need psychiatric evaluation (Laughter). “This boy is simply staring at something or the other, unblinking he’s staring, he’s lost it” (Few laugh). My problem is I look at this one, I still do not know this one. There is no way I’m able to shift my attention to another one. So I… It just held my attention, I couldn’t shift.
In this condition, they sent me to school (Few laugh) and my mother said, “Pay attention to the teachers.” I went and paid attention to the teachers (Laughter) – the kind of attention that they have never received in their life (Laughter). And initially, I understood the words that they were speaking and what they were trying to say. After some time, I realized they’re just making sounds, I’m making up the meanings in my head. Even now, as I speak, I’m only making sounds, you’re making up the meanings, isn’t it? Because language is a conspiracy between two people (Few laugh). If you have a conspiracy, what do you do? The Indians, you speak in your language (Laughter). In India, we have this advantage. We have 1,300 languages in the country. We can have lots of conspiracies going (Laughs) because we’ll speak in our own language. Actually, I’m only makings sounds, isn’t it? You’re making up the meanings.
So when I realized I’m the one who making up all the meanings, I stopped making the meanings. Then I just heard the sounds with full attention. See, this is the problem with most people. The moment they don’t understand they think they need not pay attention. What you do not understand needs more attention than what you understand, isn’t it (Participant’s phone starts ringing) (Sadhguru pauses) (Laughter)? So, as I watched teacher after teacher coming in and making noises and noises and noises and going, it became very amusing to me and a huge smile spread on my face. They were not at all amused (Laughter). My schooling went like this, very consistent (Laughs), because I remember this so well. I don’t know if you still have this… You still have those monthly tests and report cards that your parents have to sign and your… you know, your children have to get it to you, stuff like that?
Sadhguru: So, monthly report cards come. I see in the school, some children are strutting around because they are first or second, some are sitting and crying because they’re afraid to go home with their marks card. Never once in my entire school life did I ever open and see (Laughter). The teachers gave me the card, I took and gave it to my father. I thought this’s a transaction between the two of them (Laughter). I had nothing to do with this because I was very consistent. I always got six zeros (Laughter) because I always gave an empty paper. If they insisted, I put my name on it, otherwise I gave an empty paper, as a rule. When the final exam came, I wrote something and went to the next class, otherwise all my tests I got zero, zero, zero, zero because… million things, you know? I have a billion questions in my mind about everything. There is nobody around who is capable of answering these questions but they’re trying to stuff something else into you which I’m not interested in.
So, school went like this. This’s about eight years ago. This school where I studied nearly forty – forty-five years ago, they came to invite me for their one hundred and twenty-fifth anniversary of the school (Few laugh). So the trustees – the third generation of trustees – came to invite me. They said, “You must come.” I said, “See, I was not just a ‘not good’ student (Laughter), I was not even a student, why me, you know? You call the brilliant students of your school. Why me?” They said (Laughs), “You know, our school has produced Union Ministers. Our school has produced cricketing stars. Our school has produced film stars. You are the only mystic, you must come” (Laughter). I said, “Okay” (Laughs).
So I went there to speak and (Laughs)… and I went and stood up in the quadrangle, looked around – the same oppressive buildings (Few laugh). Then I suddenly remembered this classroom. I was about thirteen years of age. One afternoon, the teacher is trying to get a response for some question he’s asked. I hear the sounds but I don’t hear the words. After some time, I don’t even hear the sounds, I don’t even see their forms, I just see all kinds of things. I know their past, present, and future but I don’t know what he’s saying (Laughs). I know his entire life better than him but I don’t know what he is saying. And thirty-five, forty minutes, he desperately tried to get a response from me. But those days, I am made like this – sometimes three days, four days I don’t utter a word bec… not because I am in silence or something. When you don’t know anything, what do you say? This ‘I do not know anything’ has grown to such a size, it’s like, you know, my mind is billions of questions, simply. I have a question mark about everything in the universe and not a single answer (Laughs).
So, then after thirty-five, forty minutes, he got so frustrated. He came and held me by the shoulders, shook me violently like this (Gestures) and he said, “You must either be the divine or the devil. I think you are the later (latter?)” (Laughter). I did not feel abused by this or insulted by this. Till then, my problem was – what is this, what is that, what is that, what is that, what is that? One thing was clear to me – this (Referring to oneself) is me. Suddenly this guy confused me about this also (Laughter). Suddenly I looked like this (Gestures) – what am I? Am I divine? Am I devil? What the hell am I (Laughter)? He just confused me for the first time. I thought this was clear (Laughter). So I tried to stare at myself. It didn’t work, so I closed my eyes. Initially, minutes to hours it went on.
One day, I closed my eyes and sat. I thought I sat there for twenty-five, thirty minutes. When I opened my eyes, there’s a huge crowd around me. India being what it is, there’re garlands around me… around my neck, people are pulling my legs (Few laugh). They want to know we… Somebody wants to know about his business, somebody wants to know when his daughters will get married (Laughter). I said, “What the hell? Where did you all come from?” They said, “You’ve been sitting here for thirteen days.” In my experience, it was only twenty-five, thirty minutes. When I tried to open my legs, my knees were stuck. It took almost an hour-and-a-half, putting hot water, massage, everything to get my legs straightened out, otherwise even I wouldn’t have believed it but thirteen days had passed. In my experience, it just felt like twenty-five, thirty minutes. And suddenly what is inside, what is outside, everything got mixed up. Clearly till then, I was very clear, this is me, that’s you, all right? I had no issue with that one but this is me and that is you. Suddenly I… this idea of what is me and what is not me got all mixed up because what is me was just everywhere.
Now, this looks like a hallucination and that’s what I thought. I thought I’m just losing… you know, going off my rocker, I’m just losing my mind. But every cell in my body is bursting with ecstasy. One thing I know is I don’t want to lose it. It may be madness but I don’t want to lose it. So right now, my whole effort with life is to just rub off that madness on you (Laughter/Applause). You should also know the ecstasy of being alive. Right now, you know the torture of your intellect. You must know the ecstasy of being alive. You k… You are a piece of life, rest is all arrangements. Yes or no? Why did you make these arrangements? To enhance your life.
Participant: (Sounds like – I don’t know?)
Sadhguru: No, no, you made these arrangements mainly to enhance this life. You thought with education, your life would enhance itself, with money, it would enhance itself, with marriage, it would enhance itself, with children, it would enhance itself. Now you started the question, you know, this… I wanted to come and meditate but my family, my children, dadada, as if it’s a problem. These are accessories that you added to enhance your life, not to put your life down. Yes?
Sadhguru: Every arrangement that you made is about enhancing this life (Referring to oneself), isn’t it? If this life (Referring to oneself) could be enhanced from outside, you would have done it. But this is a realization for you that life cannot be enhanced from outside. Arrangements will bring convenience and comfort. It’ll take care of things for us, around us, but it cannot enhance. If you want to enhance is… the… life, you have to turn inward. If you really care for people who are with you – your family, your children – the foremost thing that you need to do is you have to enhance this (Referring to oneself) because what is the damn best thing that you can do to people around you? That you are a wonderful human being. There is nothing better you can do to them. If you had a choice either to live with a blissful human being or work with joyful and blissful human beings or work and live with miserable human beings, what is your choice?
Sadhguru: Blissful. I want you to please, please, please remember everybody else is looking forward to the same thing (Laughter). You think other people want miserable people? No. Please just give them that much that you’re a joyful human being (Laughs).
Participant: ____ (Unclear)
Sadhguru: I think… Run out of time… Thank you (Laughs) (Applause).
I would like to… I would like to once again acknowledge the Dharma Foundation for the commendable cause that they have taken up. This will be an important step for preserving and nurturing the future generations in a certain way. The significance of this is not to spread another new religion. The significance of this – to create a a-religious world but still deeply spiritual world. This is very important. This is very, very important. The divide of religions, you see what it is causing. In the past, it has done terrible things. Still samples of that happening in many parts of the world, what the religious divide can do. Don’t think you will be or I will be or our children will be immune to this. Anywhere it can flare up, believe me, anywhere. So this effort is commendable and in whichever way we can support this, Isha Foundation and myself, we will put our force behind this. Thank you very much for being here (Applause).
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